2014 Public Relations & Marketing Tips Inspired by the Chinese Zodiac Sign of the Horse

2014 Public Relations & Marketing Tips Inspired by the Chinese Zodiac Sign of the Horse

According to the Chinese astrology calendar, the Year of the Horse will begin February 4. People under the zodiac sign of the horse are seen as leaders gifted with spirit, grit, determination, vitality, and endurance. They are also known for their ingenious communication skills. They are clever, not afraid to venture out in their careers, and are kind to others. Cheerful and perceptive, people under the sign are talented and witty. They are earthy but also stubborn and know how to work the crowd. Inspired by the horse’s traits, we wanted to share some strategies for incorporating them into your public relations and marketing plan for the New Year.

Here are our 2014 public relations and marketing tips inspired by the Chinese Zodiac Sign of the Horse:

1. True Spirit & Blogging

Google has made it clear that the company’s ranking system has the goal to help its users find the best answers to queries by placing only the deserving candidates at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). This will have content creators on their toes (or fingers) because Google will reward websites with consistently new, true, unique and relevant content.

A blog is one of the best ways to rank well in this recipe of catalogued information. No matter if you blog daily, weekly or monthly, just make it a point to do it consistently. Also create an editorial calendar and publish posts with your target market in mind. According to ignitespot, 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post, and the more you blog, the more traffic you drive to your website.

If you’re worried about the length of your blog, the long and short of it is whether you write 300 or 1,000 words always offer something helpful to the reader, not a sales pitch. Your gift to the reader is knowledge and with that comes business.

To optimize your blog posts for SEO, choose your keywords and be sure to include them as much as possible in your content. Your main keyword should appear in the first paragraph of the copy so the topic is clear immediately. Be sure to include an image in your blog posts. Images are a great way to enhance your blog, engage your audience and drive traffic to your website.

For writing inspiration, visit Longreads.com and check out their Best of 2013: The 10 Stories We Couldn’t Stop Thinking About .

2. Grit & Twitter

Twitter is one our favorite social media tools and although it’s a gritty job keeping those tweets to the 140 character limit, it’s well worth the time commitment. You can follow and connect with social influencers like reporters and bloggers who write about your specific industry whether it be pets (a popular topic on Twitter), food, health and wellness, sports, or arts and entertainment.

Twitter is serious business for media. Many newsrooms now have editors to unite and manage their reporters’ mobile, social, and multimedia work. inBLOOM has followed Liz Heron @lheron for a few years. She’s brought the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal up to speed on digital news reporting and social networking. Follow Liz and others like her to always be in the know of emerging trends in digital news reporting.

Get to know the people you’re following. Read their latest blogs and articles and never approach them with a sales pitch. They’re interested in news so if you have something valuable to offer them, then they’ll be happy to hear from you. Be respectful and responsive and begin a relationship that has long-term benefits for both of you.

It’s easy to become a part of the conversation on the Twittersphere with the company’s Beginner’s Guide.

3. Determination & Inbound Marketing

Today it’s getting easier to track content that sells by directly linking a relationship to a story or online conversation. In 2014 more companies will be determined to hire people and purchase software that dig deep and track visitor interest to your website and social media accounts. Inbound marketing strategies will pave the way for success.

The inbound marketing methodology is about connecting with people and building long-term relationships based on customized content, conversations and tracking software. It’s personalized marketing that uses giveaways, images, infographics, blog posts, social media and more to connect with people and give them information based on their specific needs and interests.

Traditional SEO methods are no longer a viable way of directing traffic to your website. In fact, Google is penalizing websites for old SEO tactics like keyword stuffing and link farms. Instead, original content and consistency are key to success. Invest in a powerful tracking system and an inbound marketing manager and you’ll be a rich resource for people searching the Web in 2014.

Since 2006 the software company Hubspot has built an effective marketing methodology for doing business online coining the term inbound marketing. In 2014 inBLOOM welcomes Hubspot specialist Shannon Winning to our team of public relations and marketing professionals. We will create and manage quality content that aligns customer interests and naturally attracts traffic that converts, closes and delights in over time.

4. Vitality & LinkedIn

Mainly people perceive LinkedIn simply as a networking site. The communication tool is fast becoming a viable resource for searching for news and resources of all kinds, and notably information that is related to your LinkedIn profile. It’s all about customization in 2014.

According to Mashable, LinkedIn will be a go-to news source and distribution channel in the New Year. With more than 259 million members and 142 million unique visitors a month, LinkedIn is a vivacious news site. As a result of the size of its audience and the targeting capabilities offered, more marketers and publicists will be taking over company and executive pages to make the right connections and soft sell your products and services with strategic likes, comments, and shared articles.

Stay updated on LinkedIn advice and products on its official blog. Also cut through the news clutter by downloading the Pulse app, which tailors LinkedIn news content to your professional interests.

5. Endurance & Traditional PR

Traditional public relations in the form of press releases, calendar posts and email pitches continue to attract the attention of media in 2014. Google may have killed the link juice with its recent algorithm updates but traditional press releases have endured the change according to media experts. Press releases are more than a simple SEO tool. Press release content helps reach journalists, influencers, and consumers.

Read Search Engine Watch for 12 ways to optimize press releases to avoid Google Penalties.

When pitching media, know the hierarchy of the newsroom. Instead of calling or emailing staff at the leadership level like the Managing Editor, Editor in Chief, or Publisher, pitch assignment editors, online editors, and news bloggers. And always pitch them content that is related to their beat. At inBLOOM, we target people by their interests. Keep the pitch short and sweet. Time is limited for these people and they receive thousands of emails.

The New Year brings with it a world of possibilities for personalizing your marketing and public relations efforts. Integrating these tips and tools into a results-driven plan will be important for success in 2014. If you’re in need of a seasoned professional to take over, contact us. Our team is ready to get you out of the gate and heading full speed into this year of the horse.

 

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Hashtags and the Holidays

Hashtags and the HolidaysWhat’s all the hubbub on hashtags? We just love them and here’s why. They’ve become such a popular way to discover and share information on social networks that we use daily. Because hashtags categorize posts by keyword, we can target users who are interested in a specific topic. Without the use of hashtags, posts are harder to find and end up floating around amongst other random posts. Hashtags allow your posts to easily be seen by users that aren’t already following you, not just your followers. Therefore, hashtags are a useful marketing tool to increase brand awareness.

In order to get the most exposure, hashtags should be used strategically. It’s a good idea to use popular hashtags and ones that are trending for your topic. If you have a topic in mind that you would like to use as a hashtag, simply do a search for it and see how many people are using it in their posts or tweets.  Hashtags.org is a great source for finding trending and popular hashtags on Twitter, and also searching to see if certain hashtags are worth using. You will find the analytics for the hashtag on a 24-hour trend graph, which shows the estimated tweets per hour using the hashtag. When using hashtags, it’s good to be consistent, especially if you’re using hashtags that not many people are using. Many businesses are now creating their own hashtags for their marketing campaigns to get people to specifically talk about their brand in whatever they’re posting.

Commonly used hashtags seem to emerge during certain events that have created a buzz. Usually, a hashtag will be created by the event organizers and promoted so that people know to use it. Then there are also those hashtags we use each week, such as #TBT #ThrowBackThursday on Thursdays and #FF #FollowFriday on Fridays. And on national holidays such as National Pet Day and National Pizza Day hashtags are always used. But what about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukah?  Are hashtags being used during the holiday season? Most definitely. The holidays are a topic that most people around the world are talking about. From ways to celebrate to gifts worth giving, this holiday season many hashtags that are commonly being used have to do with the holidays.  And rather than being used for one day only, they’re being used all month long.

Here are some holiday hashtags you’ll want to include in your social networking posts:

#holidays  #happyholidays  #Christmas  #Hannukah  #gifts  #perfectgift  #giftideas  #giftgiving #HolidayGiftGuide  #HGG #Santa   #NewYears   #NewYearsResolution

If you’re feeling creative, why not create your own holiday hashtag for your business? For a successful outcome, use it consistently, include it in your promotions and share it wherever possible. Here are some examples of businesses that have done so and have been successful.

Honda:  #HappyHondaDays

Dunkin Donuts: #HoliDDayFashions

Target: #MyKindofHoliday

Walgreens: #HappyAllTheWay

Macys: #MacysBelieve

Hashtags are a great way to discover, connect and reach new people and organizations during the holidays and all year round. Don’t let your business get lost in a sea of random posts! Use hashtags strategically to increase brand awareness and attract your target audience.

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